No one heads down the altar with the idea that the marriage they’re entering into will end one day. However, many of them do. While the divorce rate may be lower today than in decades past, a large percentage of couples will still call it quits at some point.

Once the process of divorce is started, there can be a long and difficult road ahead. Luckily, the divorce mediation process is there to try and make things a little easier. Mediation is a process in which the two spouses attempt to see eye-to-eye on the matters of their divorce.

This can save a lot of legal trouble down the road. What is the best way to prepare for the mitigation process and ensure things go smoothly? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Prepare Ahead of Time

The unfortunate reality is that a mediator can only do so much for you if you don’t decide to take your case into your own hands. Yes, a mediator can be a huge asset: but they don’t know your marriage in and out as you do.

You’ll need to prepare, do your homework, and provide the proper information to them so that the mediation process can do what it is intended to do. What kind of information would be helpful to present to a mediator, and what can be left aside?

The Assets of Your Marriage

One of the most helpful things you can bring in would be a master list of all the assets and possessions you and your spouse have between you. That means property (big things like your house) down to personal belongings (your books and trinkets included).

Bank accounts, vehicles, credit accounts, insurance policies, stocks, and all other financial belongings and large assets should be included as well.

With this kind of list in hand, you and your spouse will be better equipped to discuss the eventual grounds of your divorce. You’ll be able to look at what the two of you have together and divvy up things as need be. A mediator will be able to walk you through any potential disagreements you run into as part of this process.

Evidence of Income

Another area that will be important in gathering the proper paperwork for? Your income. Income levels play a big role in the world of divorce, and it’s important that both spouses are clear upfront about how much money the other will be taking in.

Gathering all relevant paystubs, pensions, government payouts, alimony, and other such payments will give a fuller picture of each person’s financial status. It can be a good idea to gather an idea of each person’s financial expenses as well.

Mortgage and loan payments, insurance costs, and reoccurring health costs can play a big role in mediating as well.

Getting on top of all these financial factors early in the process can save you a huge headache later on in the divorce process. Mediation allows you to get on stable footing with these matters and resolve issues before the fighting truly begins.

Determine Your Own Goals

Now that you have everything laid out in front of you, it’s time to determine what you actually want. This can be more difficult than many people in divorces seem to expect. Some feel completely indifferent during the early stages of their divorce, while others cling onto unrealistic expectations in terms of what they’ll be able to hold on to.

You really need to take some time to sit down and determine what from your marriage is really important to you, and what you can live without if need be. Make a list on a piece of paper if it helps you make a decision.

It’s important to be realistic in this process. You can always make your dream wishlist if you want to, but really try to boil things down to what you absolutely MUST walk away with. Many cases shift a lot during negotiations, and it’s important to have a grasp on the difference between the things you want and the things you need.

If you don’t have this grasp, you might end up losing all of it.

If you need help determining what is and isn’t important to you, it might be well worth making a budget. That can give you a better idea of your financial situation following the divorce. With this clearer photo of the future in mind, you might be better equipped to make a decision.

Remember the Children

Divorce can be hard in almost all situations, but it can be especially difficult if children are involved. It’s important to remember their feelings when preparing for mediation. What would make them feel the most comfortable, and make the nasty process of divorce easiest on them?

Keeping this best-case scenario in mind when entering mediation can help ensure their future happiness.

Custody and parental access will no doubt be a big topic during your mediation process if you have children. Remember to always keep THEIR best interests in mind and not your own. The worst thing that can happen in a divorce is for a child to become a bartering chip in the back-and-forth of negotiations.

Don’t lose sight of what is most important. If you truly feel as if you have to fight for access to your child, it might be worth hiring a divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Preparing for the Divorce Mediation Process

The divorce mediation process is there to help a couple make it through the often grueling process of uncoupling. Properly preparing for mediation can help to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

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